“’Technological Literacy is the ability to use, manage, assess, and understand technology’ (Gallop Poll, 2004, p. 1). ‘Technological literacy encompasses three interdependent dimensions: (1) knowledge, (2) ways of thinking and acting; and (3) capabilities’ (Technically Speaking, 2006, p.1).” –Ball State University Curriculum
“To access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information in order to function in knowledge society.” –Iowa Department of Education
As long as literacy has been thrown around in the English language, it has been attempted to be defined. As we all know by now, this task is not entirely possible, as literacy is an abstract noun like love, hate, envy, joy, etc. And with the emergence of technology shaping our everyday lives with smartphones, tablets, notebooks, etc., keeping up with technology and being “technologically literate” is quite literally a full-time job in today’s American society.
So of course, with a new form of literacy there will be new forms of definitions from different intellectual institutions around the globe, with two important excerpts quoted above attempting to define technology literacy and literacy. But what does it really mean to be technologically literate?
It seems most define being technologically literate as keeping up with the latest technology, being able to understand and use the said technology, being able to use technology in constructive ways, and, above all, mastering the technology, not letting the technology master you.
There have been times in my life where I had felt like the technology I was using was getting the better of me, like I didn’t understand the technology enough to utilize it to its fullest extent. It’s not a good feeling, it’s a feeling of ignorance and impotence (to me at least).
A specific example of this from my own life, if I can bring you into the end of this past summer. I had prepared a montage summarizing me and my friend’s senior year and quite frankly was ready to show it off. Everyone gathered in a room with a nice TV and I had assumed the girl had an xbox or ps3 I could play the movie on, since I had burned the dvd like a usb, with files instead of one movie. Of course, she had a wii, which made things very, very hard. She suggested just putting my laptop on the table and everyone crowding in to watch, I scoffed. I would figure out a way to play this movie dammit, I had spent to long preparing this.
So I try to use her mac to burn a dvd, but that didn’t work as the extra dvd I brought was not blank. I asked her if she had an HDMI cable and she kind of gave me this look that could have been mistaken with the look someone would give to someone who had just had a giant tarantula land on his/her head. I then gave her a look that could be comparable to a look one would give someone who just failed the high school class “Success 101.”
She then led me to a room with a box of old computer hardware, through my sifting and searching, I eventually stumbled upon an old RGBV cable that I could use on my computer to output the video and audio. My technical problem solved at last! Or so I thought.
When I went to connect the RGBV cable from my computer output to the tv input, the tv gave a message that said “resolution not supported.” By now I was questioning the reality of the dimension I was living in, but a quick google search yielded that I had to change the resolution settings on my computer to “lowest.” Sweet!
So I finally get the video playing, and everything seems great, finally, except for one thing; audio. The audio is only being pumped through my measly laptop speakers, and given that this was a montage, the music sets the mood and there was practically no music. With some quick thinking, I go out to my car, retrieve my auxillary cable, take the girls iHome from her garage, come back to the room, plug in my laptop headphone jack into the iHome and finally! I have all aspects of this presentation working beautifully (roughly 70 minutes later J)!
I feel like my real-life example encompasses most, if not all, aspects of being technologically literate. I was able to keep up with the technological history (utilizing the outdated RGBV cable), being able to understand and use the said technology (70 minutes of troubleshooting), being able to use technology in constructive ways (I took random pieces of technology from around her house and my possesions to create a multimedia presentation), and, above all, in the end I mastered the technology, I did not letting the technology master me.